Go Outside, Look Up, Breathe It In

Back in the day, when I was blissfully unaware that I was married to a psychopath who would one day cheat on me, leave me, and blow up my life, I used to have another blog. It was one of those blogs that highlighted the rainbows and ponies of life, the milestones, the cute photographs of children, humorous anecdotes and the occasional commentary on the world at large. It spoke not of the underbelly of life, the grit, the trials–all of that was censored content.

Each year, I would traditionally write a New Year’s Eve post. In this post, I would often regale details of our New Years Eve plans and shenanigans. I would recap the trials of the year: sleep-training babies, bad weather, aging pets. And I would list my goals for the following year.

2017, you’ve changed that for me.

To be fair, this drama started 14 months ago, and so I’ve already gone through two holiday seasons and I’m about to go through my second New Year. Last year, I wasn’t writing. To be fair: I wasn’t sleeping, eating or smiling much either. It was a lot of crying, a lot of analyzing, a lot of anxiety, a lot of drinking. I was in shock. I celebrated New Years Eve with friends and yes I did laugh and have fun, but the bottom line was when I awoke on January 1st, 2017: nothing had changed. My life was still in the crapper and the worst was coming.

So no, I didn’t write, and I didn’t try to imagine where I’d be in a year. And I certainly didn’t write resolutions. And if I had, they would have looked nothing like my resolutions of 2014, which were:

  1. Simplify
  2. Eat less processed food
  3. Project 365 (take a photo daily and post it)
  4. Yell at my kids and dog less

I want to go back in time and hug the person that I used to be. I want to pat her on the head like a puppy and say you go girl with the organic food and the purging. To imagine a life where things were so simple that you put “simplify” on your to-do list, as if it was completely obtainable.

And now? If I were to recap my year it would look something like this…

  1. Started antidepressants and narcotic sleep aids
  2. Learned the ins and outs of anxiety and panic in a most hands-on way
  3. Didn’t do a lot of shit I used to (PTA, walking, photography)
  4. Did do a lot of shit anyhow (volunteering, yoga, birthday parties)
  5. Spent a lot of time in court
  6. Faced a lot of truths and demons, often in the wee hours of the morning.
  7. Dealt with being tormented and/or harassed on a near-daily basis to the point that it’s mostly something I’m becoming desensitized to.
  8. Bought a house.
  9. Yelled at my kids and dog a hell of a lot less. Trauma will do that to you.
  10. Laughed with my friends
  11. Drank too much wine and smoked too many cigarettes
  12. Wrote and published a book.

If I were to go back to last January and try to imagine that I’d be in a place where I’m semi-okay, it would not have been possible. I couldn’t see past the fog to the other side and it took awhile to realize that the only way through it, was through it.

I couldn’t have imagined being excited to leave my home and move into a new one. I couldn’t have imagined being a resident of the town I live in now, a place where neighbors carry extra milkbones in case they see you walking your dog and show up unannounced on Christmas Eve just to say “Merry Christmas”.

I couldn’t have imagined days going by without tears and anxiety. Do not misunderstand me: PC and his wrath remain. He never stops. I don’t see this ending for a long time…I think every avenue will have to be exhausted, every process will need to be navigated before he finally loses. But my focus is not on that–that is just an annoying detail. My focus is on myself, my children, my home. My friends and my family. Period.

The things I am grateful for: authenticity. The tighter bonds of family. The ability to be alone with myself and be okay. Life. That no matter what PC does to me, financially or otherwise, my children will never want for the basic needs–food, shelter. Love. I am grateful for the ability to see how true that is, how lucky–even in the worst storm of my life–I really am.

And so, 2018. You’re kicking off with (fingers and toes crossed) the closing on that monstrous tomb of a house that went from being “home” to being a thorn in my side. You’re starting with an extremely positive Tarot card reading (don’t judge.) You’re beginning with a home that is just so full of good vibes and juju and warmth that it feels like a safe haven.

You’re starting with the promise of legal battles, custody battles, and financial strain. And also the hope that those things will end in something that I will truly celebrate: being legally divorced. Freedom from that fucker as complete as its going to get.

2018, you’re starting with me, knowing that–when in doubt–it’s not my friends, my family, my children, or my home that will pull me back up. It’s not money, its not therapy, its not antidepressants. It’s just me. And when it truly feels impossible, I know how to go outside, look up, and breathe it in. God is always there.

2018, bring it.

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